Bloody battles continue in the southern Phillipines

TODAY is expected to mark the seventh day of bloody battles in the southern Phillippines after fighting resumed following a short-lived ceasefire on Friday.

BBC news is reporting government troops are fighting for a group of villages near the city of Zamboanga where on Sunday, the Moro National Liberation Front were holding about 100 people hostage.

At least 50 people have died in the confrontations, with 60,000 thought to have fled their homes.

The MNLF was formed in 1971 with the goal of fighting the government for a new independent Islamic nation, although a peace agreement was signed in 1996.

New skirmishes began after leader Nur Misuari declared the southern part of the island nation an independent Muslim state in August.